August 15, 2014, 01:35 PM
August 19, 2014, 07:55 PM
Ciao Maria, glad to be of help!
You can certainly get around on a scooter, you'll just have to make sure to stay to the two-lane regional roads (they are more scenic in any case) and not get on the "Firenze-Siena" roadway as that is reserved for motorcycles of over 150 cm3 cylinder power. Stay centrally anywhere between Siena and Florence and you won't be too far from any of the places (with the exception of the Val d'Orcia which might be the "furthest" but still possible to get to).
As far as practical, it has been a rainy summer and hope September will be a little more dry with perfect weather. There are many events taking place during the weekends - first look into accommodation , I suggest you start from here: http://www.tuscanyaccommodation.com/
and then after you know where you are, we can recommend something close by. There are events tied to wine harvest in September, particularly towards the end of the month. Many are not publicized at all ahead of time, you learn about them a few days ahead.
August 20, 2014, 07:15 PM
Re. Stay in Florence
Thanks a lot Lourdes for your prompt response. Going through all these posts I am already flooded with a lot of useful information. As mentioned earlier, I am planning to get on a 15 days vacation in Florence/Tuscany with my family of 4 adults. Need your advice on how many nights should I be spending in Florence as for the remaining days we will be moving around in beautiful Chianti and Siena. Also any suggestions for economical apartments with a kitchenette in the Poggibonsi area? Hope its a suitable spot as I plan to base here and move around in San Gimignano, Certaldo, Pisa,Lucca, Sienna, Val D'Orcia and Monteriggioni. Do you have any better suggestions?
Last edited by Maria; August 20, 2014 at 07:54 PM.
August 21, 2014, 11:03 PM
Apartments in Poggibonsi
Hello Lourdes- Any good apartments in Poggibonsi area?
August 26, 2014, 04:23 PM
Poggibonsi is just a few miles between San Gimignano and Castellina in Chianti, so if you stay in the countryside to either side of Poggibonsi you'll be very central. I just suggest to not stay too close to Poggibonsi, as the city itself is surrounded by lots of warehouses and factories so it isn't very scenic... but as soon as you head out, you're in beautiful countryside.
So having said that, I'd recommend spending 3-4 days in Florence divide the remaining days into two different apartments... wait, are you coming this September? some places rent by days, other by the week. So first I'd recommend to stay near San Gimignano for one part to explore Pisa, Lucca, Certaldo, SG itself, Monteriggioni and Siena, and then move on to southern Tuscany to the Val d'Orcia to explore that area (Montalcino, Pienza, San Quirico, Bagno Vignoni, Montepulciano, Montichiello).
So near S.G., take a look at the places recommended here:
and then for Val d'Orcia here: http://www.tuscanyaccommodation.com/val-d-orcia/
Are you all moving around by scooter the whole time once you leave Florence? It sounds like a great vacation ;-)
September 12, 2014, 03:32 PM
Lourdes!!! Here we come!
We are all set to travel to Florence on the 16th September where we stay for 3 nights. And thereafter, we shift our base to San Gimignano ( Badia Elmi) for 4 nights. From here we plan to hit the following spots- Pisa,San Gimignano, Colle Di Val D'Elsa, Volterra, Monteriggioni,Greve In Chianti/Panzano in Chianti/Castellina In Chianti/Radda. I would have to call upon your help on the order of visiting these spots across the 4 nights/5 Days we are in the area.
Originally Posted by Lourdes
Also, we would be shifting our base to Val D'Orcia for 3 Nights wherein we will be hitting the following spots-Asciano,Montalcino,Castiglione D'Orcia,Montelpulciano, Arezzo. Again I would want your help on allotting these spots across the 3 Nights.
My boys being car freaks have been pestering me to ask you on the possibility of visiting the Ferrari Museo in Modena. Looking at the maps, the only way to reach that place in less time is during our stay in SG. Appreciate it if you could please advise on this.
Can't tell you how excited we are to travel to Toscanaaaa !!! I really didn't want to have a structured itinerary as we would be forced to waking up on setting morning alarms the previous night ( We are on a vacation and moreover it would dampen our adventurous spirits to a great extent. But it seems there is a need to follow some sort of an itinerary.
September 13, 2014, 08:06 PM
Tuscany!!! Here we come!
Hello Lourdes- So happy to tell you that me and my family of 4 are all set to fly to this beautiful place. We land in Florence on 16th September spending 3 nights. Thereafter we would shift base to San Gimignano- Badia A Elmi. During our stay of 4 Days & 4 nights, we would visit Pisa, Lucca, Colle Val D'Elsa,Volterra, Monteriggioni, Greve In Chianti, Castellina, Panzano ( i would rush to this place to devour Dario Cecchini's steaks!) and Radda. We are visiting a winery when in Greve- Castello Di Verezzano. Not sure if we would be able to see all these places. A small catch here is that my adult boys who are hard core car-freaks have been pestering me to ask you about the possibility of squeezing in a trip to the Modena ( Ferrai Museo) in the whole itinerary. Well, we need your advice on this. And also, can you please tell us in which order we should be travelling to the above mentioned spots. I was trying my best NOT TO travel with a structured itinerary as it would dampen our adventurous spirits. But it seems, we can only take a very limited risk taking into consideration the timelines involved.
Also, we would shift our base again to Val D'Orcia wherein we stay here for 3 Nights and 4 Days. We plan to visit Bagno Vignoni,Castiglione D'Orcia,Montalcino,San Quirico D'Orcia, Pienza,Montichiello, Montepulcioano and Arezzo. Will be visiting a winery again when in Montalcino - Biondi Santi. I am mocking at myself while I write the whole list of places as I am so doubtful if we can hit these places.Really need your advice on how we could allot the above places over in 3 days. Is there anything we could skip? Seems we would have to set morning alarms to start the day early LOL. We just want to make sure that we are going to do this LEISURELY! :-) And yes, we would definitely rent a scooter or a car. I am more keen to hire scooters!
Last edited by Maria; September 13, 2014 at 08:12 PM.
September 19, 2014, 04:32 PM
Florence is an amazing place!!!
Hi lourdes,we are here in florence at the moment and this is our last day here before we move on to san gimignano.must say florence is an amazing city!!! Loved it!!!
October 7, 2014, 12:21 PM
Sounds like you had an awesome time in Florence and hopefully in Tuscany too!
Sorry I had not seen your earlier message asking for last-minute help on the itinerary - I am sure you were able to figure out once you were here what the best pace was for your family. Did you make it to Modena? It is really NOT that close, but if you really wanted to make it there, I am sure you could take a day out to go.
I look forward to hearing more about how everything turned out in the end!!
October 7, 2014, 05:05 PM
Landed home last night after 2.5 weeks in the beautiful Tuscan region. The trip was heavenly! Me and my family of 4 stayed in Florence for 5 nights and we covered the length and breadth of Florence. We had a whole apartment to ourselves and gradually we felt we were a part of the locality. Transportation is not at all an problem in Florence. We travelled by the local bus every time we wanted to go sightseeing. You could simply approach a Tabbacheria (these shops have a 'T' sign board) and purchase a 90-minutes valid bus ticket or a 10-Euro Agile card. We purchased the latter and it was so useful and economical.
Galleria Dell Accademia-We visited the Galleria Dell' Accademia. Here we strongly suggest you to reserve the tickets in advance. We had to stay in the long queue for 1.5-2 hours to enter the Accademia. They would only let in batches of 15 at a time. Once you get in, then you may record each and every step you take towards David's statue. An amazing piece of art, I must say and I spent a good 2-3 hours in the Accademia. There is a Musical Instrument section too which is a must visit. This section also has a facility to access the original musical score archives of some of the world famous musicians who had influenced the Florentine music. Plus, there is a whole musical documentary that you could listen to.
The Duomo-We walked to the Duomo. Be prepared to climb the 418 steps towards the top of the tower :-) You could get a splendid view of the whole of Florence.
As mentioned by MarkC the Opera Del Duomo was closed for renovation until November. Just opposite the Opera Del Duomo we saw a long queue in a Gelato store called Eduardo. The Gelato was mind numbing and believe it or not I had visited them daily for 5 days straight trying out different flavours. My favourite was the Pistacchio and vanilla combo. I must confess that I am a foodie and go nuts over the Gelato.
Palazzo Michealangelo-The best time to visit the Palazzo Michealangelo is from 6 P.M onwards. Carry a bottle of wine and some wine glasses with you, if you can. There is a restaurant but their charges are quite exorbitant. Not recommended at all for budget travellers. If you are a photography enthusiast,a tripod, a wide angle lens and a portrait lens are a must :-) Enjoy your wine while you watch the sunset, the view of of the whole Florentine city at this time is simply splendid. Even more, is the panoramic view of the whole city at night. Simply romantic!!
Fiesole- We took the Bus No.7 to Fiesole and the trip was worth it. It has a monastery which can be visited for free.
The best place to have food and wine is the huge Mercato Centrale. 10 minutes walk from the Duomo. Get to the first floor and you will be amazed! Take your time to look around the whole 'food arena' You have an array of options to look into. If you are staying in an apartment, don't forget to order fresh pancetta for your following days breakfast meals from the only butcher shop. You could even chose a cut and have them cook it for you. I ordered a nice juicy pork steak and it was simply heavenly.
My strong advice to you is to hire a vehicle once you leave Florence to visit the core Tuscan region. I went through a tough time when I didn't get my car as scheduled from one of those 'Big Five' agents. However, that didn't stop me from proceeding with my itinerary. From Florence we took a train journey to Certaldo ( Badia El Elmi to be precise) and we would use this as the base to visit the whole of the Chianti region and Siena. The next day being a Sunday, we planned to visit Pisa by train. So we were at the station waiting for the train to Pisa but unfortunately it got cancelled. There were other trains that got cancelled too. After 3 hours of waiting at the station, we decided to postpone the Pisa trip to some other day and instead we took a short trip to the Certaldo Alto. Apparently, the Alto hosts carnivals during the weekends and this was an exciting one! It was a blessing in disguise that we postponed out Pisa trip else we would have missed the carnival. The next day we took a train to Pisa and on our way back, stopped by San Gimingano. Quite fortunately, the owner of our apartment suggested us of a prominent car/scooter rental company in San Gimingano- Bellini Rentals. Their deals were the best ever! No extra charges for the GPS unlike other agents- No Security Deposits! You sign the contract, they ask you for your IDL, credit card copy ( which they return to you after you return your car/scooter) and you are all set! So we visited the whole of Chianti region- Castellina in Chianti, Radda in Chianti, Greve in Chianti ( Here we visited a winery-Castellino Di Verezzano, ofcourse you need to reserve in advance and they even gave us a free sample bottle of their fresh olive oil. Free wine tastings too. We even bought the Chianti Classico wine from here. For lunch, we drove straight to the world renowned Cecchini's in Panzano. Don't miss the Panzanese steak. Best part is, we were lucky to meet the one and only Dario Cecchini and he was so kind enough to make himself available for a family photograph with him. I will have that picture framed in a couple of days :-) We visited Volterra, famous for its Alabaster crafts and even has a Roman theatre. Take a walk around this typical Tuscan town and observe the Tuscan style of living here and their culture.
The whole trip around Chianti and Siena was carried out by driving through road SR222. Simply majestic! I cannot count the number of times I stopped my car to get that splendid view of the vineyards and the landscapes. No words can describe the scenic beauty- No camera lens could fully capture the panaromic view. Your eyes is the best lens! After a 5 days trip around the Chianti-Siena region, we shifted base to Montichello another splendid area of the Southern Tuscan region. It was easy to get to Montepulciano, Val D'Orcia,San Quirico D'Rocia and La Foce- an estate in this region. The La Foce has guided tours every Wednesday till November 5th at 3, 4, 5 and 6 P.M. Due to the increasing number of touristers flocking to the estate they have even included every Saturdays and Sundays till November 2nd at 11.30 A.M, 3 P.M and 4.30 P.M. You could even book a meal at their restaurant ' Dopolavoro La Foce'. Our last stop was at Pienza before we headed back to Florence. My kids took a day to visit the Ferrari Museo. They took a train to Bologna and then a connection train to Modena. There is a shuttle bus that takes you to the Musoe on a return ticket of 11 Euros.That trip was a memorable one for the boys. Overall it was a great trip and my family thoroughly enjoyed it. I had tears of utter joy when driving through the picturesque landscapes and the ploughed fields of the Tuscan region. Even joined with a team of farmers in plucking the grapes while we were passing by an orchard.Simply great a trip! Grazie Tuscany for all your love. Ciao till we meet again soon! All love to Lourdes as well for all those fantastic tips.